Territorio creativo maintains a hybrid (and risky) position, assuming the role of a “real” agency, while also serving as a consultancy, and this hurts us sometimes, especially in the latter area. We are asked, from time-to-time why we hold on to the word “creative” in our company name. And we do it simply because we believe that we are redefining the professional services firms of the 21st century, and that creativity (as well as the ‘advertising’ that is implied through the word ‘creative’), should be a basic, integrated and inextricable skill.
The professional services firms of the future will be more open, and much more connected to talent networks than they are now. They will not accumulate methodologies, but rather, will be connectors and catalysts. In addition, they will publicize with executed examples the plans that they conceive. They will learn to transform with capabilities similar to coaching methodologies, but also getting their hands dirty if the moment calls for it.
Data, Creativity and Technology
We presented our strategic plan a few months ago, and one of the pictures that emerged, which also marked our previous work sessions (in which all tecerians who wanted to/could, participated) was as the title above indicates: the three core competencies to develop in the coming years should be data, creativity and technology. We cannot imagine working in a digital environment without those ‘extrasensory’ powers for collecting and analyzing data, and in turn, connecting this analysis with strategic and tactical proposals that require strong doses of creativity (and innovative thinking), all supported by a deep technological knowledge.
Renouncing creativity would mean giving up innovative, daring, and differential thinking; it would also mean renouncing the creation of innovative services or products, and the ability to communicate them, standing out above others through formats, channels and other combinations that were unimaginable just a few years ago.
Art and Science in a single brain
In the book by Daniel Pink, “A whole new mind,” artistic training was compared to training in engineering and economics of the twentieth century. When faced with MBAs, more MFAs (Masters in Fine Arts), which include subjects such as film, graphic design, creative writing, photography, film and theater, dance, or art history, will be demanded. In #Lidertarios, we talked about why and how we try to develop art and science within the same organization:
Years ago, our focus on graphic design enabled us to understand that the nature of the layout (or imagery) helped in highlighting written content, as well as the importance of the aesthetics of a presentation or an executive summary, which focuses on the visual representation of results and conclusions; this helps to attract the attention of a busy executive. Without attractive wrapping with spark, we run the risk of our audience not perceiving the magnitude of the gift is presented.
But while the information overload has enabled the development of relevant and winning ways to address content, the exponential growth of production and data collection is giving special prominence to analytical capabilities. This analytical discipline (and the now famous “big data”) will mark the next digital divide between organizations (and individuals) unable to contemplate and comprehend the quasi-infinite capacity for the storage of bits, against those who learn to read coffee grounds when developing products or services.
Agency and Consultancy, Thinkers and Doers
For us, when we talk about the agency and the consultancy, it also means developing thinking and execution skills and capabilities, finely intertwined with each other. We must be Thinkers and Doers i.e. Thinkers-Doers. It is of no particular value to be good at execution if our powers of observation, analysis and logical structuring are not outstanding. And vice versa: we do not believe in the traditional position of the consultant, which is limited to the judicious styling of – dense, stratospheric, and long – PowerPoint presentations to develop plans that are often unfeasible or simply unmanageable for those who have to get down to work.
We said recently that the strategy is overrated, and we argued that: “in an unpredictable environment, the thinker has to sometimes be the doer. Otherwise, one can neither experiment with nor take the data itself. When reading about the learnings of others in a book, they will already have become obsolete […]. The twenty-first century requires an unusual flexibility, and walking the path is defined by actually walking it, not by looking at Google Maps.”
Hybridizing, diversity, and crossbreeding
We want to build a ‘Yin-Yang’ organization – a hybrid, diverse, and unpredictable organization. We want to create a work environment that combines disciplines, and that which is not just multinational, but also multicultural. That is, one that provides its members and its clients with an environment of continuous discovery – surprise, intrigue, mystery and excitement. And you’ve got to tell me how we could possibly work towards that goal, especially if we were to renounce the integration of the creative spirit in our DNA.
A few years ago, I gave a talk on some key factors for growth (Article in Spanish), as we were imbuing at Tc. I put a lot of effort into explaining what we were doing to integrate the ‘creative culture’ (creative hipsters; hipsters with trimmed beards) with the technological culture (big glasses; ties; and lords of the rings).
Within a few months of preparing this presentation, a multinational consultancy with whom we’d begun acquisition talks suggested leaving our areas of creativity out the agreement. Any agency without consultants, a consultancy without creatives? Impossible, we would be betraying ourselves, as well as our strategic positioning.
Here, I’ll leave you with two posts that I wrote long ago, related to our vision of new creativity, digital creativity or creativity 2.0, which I consider relevant for understanding how we approach the work of integrating the aforementioned creativity into our day-to-day experiences.